American Airlines, which has been campaigning hard to get the 737MAX back in the air, and has by some accounts tried to get itself to the top of the return to service list – along with most of the others – has announced a cancellation of all flights out to January 16th.
Either they know something the rest of the airline world doesn’t or its become convinced that a return to service before then is now utterly beyond realistic. Southwest pilots, one of the more vocal groups, but also with a good reason to not want a return to service with their lawsuit for $100m in lost earnings, claim it won’t be airborne until March.
American has been reticent to block out dates so far ahead, but it means the other majors, Southwest and United will almost certainly follow suit.
It seems clear now that EU, Chinese, Indian, Australian, Indonesian, Ethiopian and others will not accept the FAA’s blanket assurance of recertification and that even the US process is slowing, as the FAA, anxious to regain its credibility, makes life harder for Boeing to be seen to have the last – or any say – as to when the 737MAX will be back in the skies.
The US is about to enter its busiest travel periods with Thanksgiving a month away followed by Christmas and New Year a month later.